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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

Written Sketches              251

" Let me have a look at his letter, sir."

I gave him the letter, and he said:

" I see, sir, there is a crumb of tobacco in it; I think you
may go."

I went and enjoyed myself very much. I should like to
add that there are very few men who have ever impressed me
so profoundly and so favourably as Dr. Creighton. I have
often seen him since, both at Peterborough and at Fulham,
and like and admire him most cordially.*

I paid my first visit to Peterborough at a time when that
learned musician and incomparable teacher, Mr. W. S.
Rockstro, was giving me lessons in medieval counterpoint ;
so I particularly noticed the music at divine service. The
hymns were very silly, and of the usual Gounod-Barnby
character. Their numbers were posted up in a frame and I
saw there were to be five, so I called the first Farringdon
Street, the second King's Cross, the third Gower Street, the
fourth Portland Road, and the fifth Baker Street, those being
stations on my way to Rickmansworth, where I frequently
go for a walk in the country.

In his private chapel at night the bishop began his verse
of the psalms always well before we had done the response
to the preceding verse. It reminded me of what Rockstro
had said a few weeks earlier to the effect that a point of
imitation was always more effective if introduced before the
other voices had finished. I told Rockstro about it and said
that the bishop's instinct had guided him correctly—certainly
I found his method more satisfactory than if he had waited
till we had finished. Rockstro smiled, and knowing that I
was at the time forbidden to work, said:

" Satan finds some mischief still for idle brains to do."

* This note is one of those that appeared in the New Quarterly
Review. The Hon. Mrs. Richard Grosvenor did not see it there, but
a few years later I lent her my copy. She wrote to me 31 December,
1911 :

" The notes are delightful. By the way I can add to one. When
Mr. Butler came to tell me he was going to stay with Dr. Creighton,
he told me that Alfred had decided he might go on finding the little
flake of tobacco in the letter. Then he asked me if I would lend him
a prayer-book as he thought the bishop's man ought to find one in his
portmanteau when he unpacked, the visit being from a Saturday to
Monday. I fetched one and he said :

" ' Is it cut ? ' "